Tuesday 19 January 2016

Delicious Chocolate Sponge with fresh fruit and cream

Back in my teens I used to make this sponge all the time. With the hens on the farm there was always plenty of eggs to be used. That was nearly 30 years ago now, but the recipe is still as good as ever. I'm really not sure where the recipe came from originally; probably one of the 1070's farming womens' publications. It's easy to make and always goes down well with a crowd. Use whatever summer fruit is available to make this delicious cake for dessert or afternoon tea.

My family still farm the same land, and thanks to my mother's care and attention there is always plenty of eggs in the hen house. Looking after the chickens is one of our Little Blossom's favourite farm chores. 

Chocolate Sponge with fresh fruit and cream

6 eggs - separated
300g caster sugar
200g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons butter
4 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder
6 tablespoons warm water

For the filling:
2 cups cream
4 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence 
2 cups fresh raspberries - if fresh is unavailable, jam will do the trick. 
an extra 2 to 3 cups fresh seasonal fruit

Preheat the oven to 180deg. C. Line a 18 x 25cm or similar sized baking tin with baking paper. 

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add approximately half the sugar, a tablespoon at a time and beat until the mixture holds firm peaks. 

In a separate bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until they are pale and doubled in volume. 

Don't add the sugar to the yolks until you are ready to beat them or lumps of yolk will form around the sugar. 

Place the water, cocoa and butter into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy. Allow to cool. 

Fold the yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites. Now fold the cooled cocoa mixture into the eggs. Double sift the flour and baking powder and gently fold it into the egg mixture.

Pour the sponge mixture into the prepared baking tin. 

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the sponge is well risen and bounces back when pressed. 

Allow the sponge to cool in the tin, then turn it out and remove the baking paper. Using a large serrated knife cut the sponge length-ways into two pieces. 

Beat the cream and icing sugar to soft peaks. Add the vanilla essence. 

Mash the first measure of raspberries and spread them on the bottom layer of sponge. 

Cover with cream and sprinkle with whole raspberries. 

Place the top layer of sponge on top and cover with the remaining cream. Arrange the extra fruit on top and serve!  

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